NORTHWEST REGIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
WINNING ESSAY by DOLORES BRIDGES:
Soroptimist International of Wallowa County is proud to be celebrating its 70th Anniversary in 2017. Wallowa County, in the isolated northeast of Oregon, sports no main highways, no big box stores, no stop lights and has less than 8,000 people. The people who live in our county are hard working, independent and care deeply about the place in which they live. Volunteerism is how things get done. Opportunities abound, but despite that, our membership has grown by 10 new members since July, mostly because local women who share our ideals, see the value of what our group does for our community and want to be a part of it. Our club is thriving with a total membership of 44 women.
Over the course of our club's history, we have tried many different forms of fund-raising: candy sales, fashion shows and pie sales. But in Sept. 1957 (60 years ago), we undertook the largest fund-raising project ever, the operation of a thrift shop. Prices at the Thrift ship have been kept low over the years to allow those in need in our community to clothe their families at a price they can afford. In operation only two days a week, our shop grosses over $1000 per week. Approximately 90 % of our net revenues go back into our community with 10 % going to SIA and International projects.
Annually we support the Live Your Dream Award, confer a Fellowship Award to a woman pursing an advanced degree and honor a local woman with a Ruby Award. Internationally, we support the Dec. 10th Appeal and have funded the high school education of five teen girls in El Salvador and a family in Sierra Leone.
Locally we provide support to a number of projects and programs. Most notable this year, we provided twelve high school seniors with $2,000 scholarships and sponsored a month-long program on Women in Art. Annually we give to the Food Bank, Senior Meals, Libraries and a long list of other programs and conduct three community service projects.
The commitment of S.I. of Wallowa County to the needs of our community have been unwavering. Our club has maintained high standards of professional women committed to improving the lives of women and girls primarily in our local community but also on an international scale. We are proud of our members and our accomplishments.